Trujillo is a city on the north coast of Peru, renowned for the pre-Incan archaeological sites in the area. It is also famed for its surfing beaches and beautiful colonial architecture in the city center.
Chan Chan was the largest pre-Columbian city in all of the Americas, and its ruins are now a major tourist attraction.
You will find some of the best waves in South America on this stretch of coastline, making Trujillo a magnet for surfers.
This is another stunning archaeological site, featuring the best preserved murals in Peru.
Laguna Conache is the place to go to for the unusual sport of sandboarding; think surfing on sand dunes instead of waves.
The colonial streets in the center of town are not to be missed, making Trujillo a beautiful place to walk and relax.
Central Trujillo is dotted with palaces and mansions, but none are quite as lavish as the Casa de Urquiaga. Dating back to 1604, and located next to the Plaza de Armas, the Casa is filled with gorgeous items, including 17th century furniture, a writing desk used by the Liberator himself, Simon Bolivar, and an impressive collection of pre-Columbian pottery. Unusually for such a magnificent attraction, it's still a working bank, so normal opening hours apply.
Trujillo is incredibly rich in archaeological finds. For around 1,500 years, the region was the center of Peru's pre-Inca civilizations, resulting in a treasure trove of artifacts for specialists to find - and find them they have. This museum in the town center provides an excellent synopsis of what we know about the Moche and Chan Chan states, and has vivid Inca galleries as well. So you can have no excuses for leaving Trujillo without an understanding of the city's remarkably long, eventful past.
About 10 miles up the coast from Trujillo lies Huanchaco, which lays claim to being Peru's favorite coastal resort. Famous for its lines of traditional reed boats, which set to sea to harvest the Pacific's bounty, it's now become a busy backpacking destination, but still remains tranquil and relaxing. If you go, don't miss the ruins of Chan Chan, which are right next door. Dated to about 1300, it was once the biggest city in the Americas, and was made entirely from mud bricks.
Around 7 miles southeast of Trujillo's Old Town, you'll find something even older, and more intriguing. Huaca del Sol (also known as the "Temples of the Sun and Moon") were built well before the Spanish arrived, and even before the Incas rose to power. Traced back to the Moche period (around 100 to 700 AD), this site is the largest of its kind in Peru. The main pyramid has largely tumbled to the ground, but other elements remain intact, including the impressive Huaca de la Luna. Check out the on-site Museo Huacas de Moche for the latest finds and theories about the site's purpose.
The area around Plaza de Armas dates back to the mid 16th century, making it one of the oldest city centers in the Americas - and you can really get a feel for its antiquity as you wander from square to square. Highlights are all over the place, from the bright yellow facade of the Basilica Menor Cathedral, to the (also yellow) beautiful Palacio Iturregui, and the new Cathedral of St Mary, so leave plenty of time to cover all of the ground. The plaza itself is a great place to start, with its Freedom Monument taking center stage.
Trujillo has a mild desert climate and is known as the "City of Everlasting Spring" because of its pleasant year-round weather.
FAP Capitán Carlos Martínez de Pinillos International Airport (TRU) serves the city with flights from other Peruvian cities. A taxi to the city center will cost around S/.16.45. Buses cost S/.1.50.
Trujillo is on the Pan-American Highway, with good connections from major cities to the north and south.
The city is served by a number of intercity bus companies. The fare from Lima is around S/.45.
Casa de Clara in Santa Clara offers good hostel accommodation in a quiet area just 10-minutes' walk from the city center. Hotel Gran Bolivar in the historic city center has spacious rooms with terraces in a good position.
Centro Histórico - this is the area around Plaza de Armas, featuring the city cathedral and much of the old colonial buildings. You will find a number of restaurants, good hotels, and busy bars.
Huanchaco Beach - this is a World Surfing Reserve and one of the most popular seaside resorts in the Trujillo region. It has a beautiful beach and a buzzing nightlife.
Víctor Larco Herrera - this is a coastal area to the west of the city center with lots of green space and the popular shopping area of Larco Avenue.
Buses cover the main routes in and around the city and fares are from S/.1.50.
Official taxis in Trujillo are yellow with a sticker of the city's coat of arms on the windshield. The meter drop is S/.5 and then the fare is S/.6 per mile.
Roads in Trujillo are generally well maintained and traffic is not too congested. Roads around the city may be unpaved, so care is needed. Car rental costs from S/.100.
Trujillo is famous for its shoe making, leather goods, and ceramics. Jirón Pizarro and Jirón Ayacucho are good choices for local crafts. The Mall Aventura Plaza and Real Plaza Trujillo focus on more mainstream international brands.
A quart of milk in Trujillo costs around S/.3.65 and a dozen eggs is S/.4.25.
Squalos on Diaz de Cienfuegos offers excellent local dishes with a focus on seafood, while Rincon de Vallejo on Orbegoso has traditional dishes at attractive prices. Expect to pay S/.10 for a dish in a laid-back cafe and S/.25 in a more upscale restaurant.